It was our final day in Hong Kong and fortunately it was to be a long one as we had arranged overnight flights back to the U.K. The sun was shining brightly through the large windows of the hotel restaurant as we enjoyed our final breakfast at the IBIS North Point. Back in our room it didn’t take long to pack our suitcases and soon we were taking the MTR to Central. North Point station has step free access enabling us to manoeuvre our luggage easily and as we were travelling after 10.00 a.m. the morning rush had passed so there was plenty of room for our cases on board the train.
After arriving at Central we followed signs for in-town check-in, a service offered by several airlines at Hong Kong and Kowloon stations. To take advantage of this facility, passengers need to purchase an Airport Express ticket before entering the in-town check-in area. Although this is considerably more expensive than the City Flyer bus we arrived on (HK$40) £4 each, it meant that we didn’t need to return to the hotel later to collect our luggage and take it with us to the airport. An adult Airport Express ticket costs (HK$110) £11 but two people travelling together can purchase a ‘Group of 2’ ticket costing (HK$170) £17 saving HK$40. After buying this ticket we were able to proceed to the Cathay Pacific desk to check in our luggage which took less than 5 minutes.
Free from our heavy luggage, we wandered across to the Exchange Square bus station so that we could catch a bus to Stanley (buses 6 and 260). A bus was already on the stand and despite not being at the front of the queue, we still managed to get our preferred seats with the best views at the front of the upper deck. Stanley is one of our favourite places to visit with the bus journey providing spectacular views as it passes beautiful Deepwater and Repulse bays.
Our first stop was at Stanley Market which is predominantly aimed at tourists with stalls running along several narrow passageways selling souvenirs, clothes, textiles and toys. It was interesting to browse the stalls but there was nothing to take our interest so we wandered along the attractive promenade and found a pleasant cafe for some lunch. Whilst there, we struck up a conversation with a young couple at the next table who lived in the New Territories. They were contemplating a first visit to the U.K. and we happily answered their questions and suggested things they might like to see and do on their travels.
After our leisurely lunch we made a move and strolled along the seafront to the ornate Blake Pier where we found a school choir singing. Facing the pier is Murray House, a colonial building which was originally in Central but was moved to Stanley brick by brick. It is now home to a range of shops and cafes.
On a headland, at the very end of the promenade stands the very small Pai Tak temple. Climbing some steps behind the temple we intended to follow a nature boardwalk that we had taken previously. To our dismay the path was cordoned off due to fallen trees which had been caused by the recent typhoon. Instead, we retraced our steps along the seafront and continued along to the beach with its idyllic views. The emerald green water gleaming in the sunlight as we strolled along the water’s edge.
Continuing our walk, we spotted Stanley Post Office which still had its original red colonial postbox standing proudly next to one of the green ones which are in use today. Before catching the bus back to Stanley we bought some ice creams which we ate sitting on a bench on the promenade.
Back in Central we took the mid-level escalators from the Hang Seng Bank headquarters on Queen’s Road to Soho (meaning South of Hollywood Road). We left the escalators at Staunton Street to explore Soho with its warren of narrow streets filled with dozens of upscale bars and restaurants. It was in one of these cosy, small restaurants that we decided to have our final meal of the holiday and our selected dishes of pork and chicken served with egg fried rice were perfect and not too heavy for our long journey ahead.
Looking at our watches, we realised there was still time to take the Star Ferry across to Tsim Sha Tsui to watch the Symphony of Lights light and laser show one last time. Our outbound ferry was on Solar Star whilst our return to Central was on Day Star. There are 12 ferries in the fleet and during our six visits to Hong Kong, we’ve probably travelled on most of them. All of the boats include the name Star combined with Twinkling, Golden, Silver and Morning to name but a few.
It was then time for us to take the Airport Express back to the airport for our overnight flight back to Manchester. Although the aircraft was on its stand, our flight was delayed for an hour due to operational reasons but this didn’t make too much difference as we just sat in one of the airside cafes a little longer drinking coffee.
Once on board our Cathay Pacific A350-900 airliner we settled into our seats and I watched the remainder of ‘the film ‘On Chesil Beach’ that I’d started to watch on an earlier flight. As it was so late, the drinks trolley and meals were served promptly and after the cabin lights were dimmed, we slept for over 7 hours which was good as it was such a long flight.
We then ordered some cup noodles and ate these whilst watching one final film of the trip, my choice this time was the re-make of the Agatha Christie mystery, Murder on the Orient Express which I enjoyed.
About two hours prior to landing we were served breakfast and my omelette was light and fluffy. It was early morning as we came into land at Manchester where we were greeted by thick cloud and drizzle. After retrieving our luggage we needed to open our suitcases to find our coats as it felt exceedingly chilly after the hot weather we’d just experienced in Manila and Hong Kong. We then caught a train home after enjoying yet another memorable Asian adventure
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